"Buenos dias, Senor." Carara bowed politely to Speed.

"Good-morning again," said Wally.

Turning to the trainer, Carara eyed him from top to toe, removed his cigarette, and flipped the ashes daintily from it; then, smiling disdainfully, said:

"Buenos dias, Senor Fat!"

Glass started. "You talkin' to me?"

"Yes." Carara leaned languidly against the wall, took a match from his pocket, and dextrously struck it between the nails of his thumb and finger. He breathed his lungs full of smoke and exhaled it through his nose. "I would have spik to you biffore, but the Senor Fat is"—he shrugged his shoulders—"frighten' so bad he will not understan'. So—I come back."

"Who's scared?" said Glass, gruffly.

Carara turned his palm outward, in gentle apology.

"You been talk' a gret deal to my Senorita—to Mariedetta, eh?"

"Oh, the Cuban Queen!" Glass winked openly at Speed. "Sure! I slip her a laugh now and then."

"She is not Cubana, she is Mexicana," said Carara, politely.

"Well, what d'you think of that! I thought she was a Cuban."
Glass began to chuckle.

"Senor Fat," broke in the Mexican, sharply, while Larry winced at the distasteful appellation, "she is my Senorita!"

"Is she? Well, I can't help it if she falls for me." The speaker cast an appreciative glance at his employer. "And you can cut out that 'Senor Fat,' because it don't go—" Then he gasped, for Carara slowly drew from inside his shirt a long, thin-bladed knife bearing marks of recent grinding, and his black eyes snapped. His face had become suddenly convulsed, while his voice rang with the tone of chilled metal. Glass retreated a step, a shudder ran through him, and his eyes riveted themselves upon the weapon with horrified intensity.

"Listen, Pig! If you spik to her again, I will cut you." The gaze of the Mexican pierced his victim. "I will not keel you, I will just—cut you!"

Speed, who had sat in open-mouthed amazement during the scene, pinched himself. Like Larry, he could not remove his gaze from the swarthy man. He pulled himself together with an effort, however, undertaking to divert the present trend of the conversation.

"W—where will you cut him?" he asked, pleasantly, more to make conversation than from any lingering question as to the precise location.

"Here." Carara turned the blade against himself, and traced a cross upon his front, whereupon the trainer gurgled and laid protecting hands upon his protruding abdomen. "You spik Spanish?" "No." Glass shook his head.

"But you understan' w'at I try to say?"

"Yes—oh yes—I'm hep all right."

"And the Senor Fat will r-r-re-member?"

"Sure!" Glass sighed miserably, and tearing his eyes away from the glittering blade, rolled them toward his employer. "I don't want her! Mr. Speed knows I don't want her!"

Carara bowed. "And the Fat Senor will not spik wit' her again?"


"Gracias, Senor! I thank you!"

"You're welcome!" agreed the New Yorker, with repressed feeling.

"Adios! Adios, Senor Speed!"

"Good-bye!" exclaimed the two in chorus.

Carara returned the knife to its hiding-place, swept the floor gracefully with his sombrero, then placing the spangled head- piece at an exact angle upon his raven locks, lounged out, his silver spurs tinkling in the silence.

Glass took a deep breath.

"He doesn't mean to kill you—just cut you," said Speed. "I got it," declared the other, fervently. Again he laid repressing hands upon his bulging front and looked down at it tenderly. "They've all got it in for my pad, haven't they?"

"I told you to keep away from that girl."

"Humph!" Glass spoke with soulful conviction. "Take it from me, Bo, I'll walk around her as if she was a lake. Who'd ever think that chorus-man was a killer?"

"Surely you don't care for her seriously?"

"Not now. I—I love my Cuban, but"—he quivered apprehensively—
"I'll bet that rummy packs a 'shiv' in every pocket."

From outside the bunk-house came the low, musical notes of a quail, and Glass puckered his lips to answer, then grew pale. "That's her," he declared, in a panic. "I've got a date with her."

"Are you going to keep it?"

"Not for a nose-bag full of gold nuggets! Take a look, Wally, and see what she's doing."

Speed did as directed. "She's waiting."

"Let her wait," breathed the trainer.

"Here comes Stover and Willie."

"More bad news." Glass unrolled his prayer-rug, and stepped upon it hastily. "Say, what's that word? Quick! You know! The password. Quick!"


"That's her!" The fat man began to mumble thickly. It was plain that his spirit was utterly broken.

But this call was prompted purely by solicitude, it seemed. Willie had little to say, and Stover, ignoring all mention of the earlier encounter he had witnessed, exclaimed:

"There's been some queer goin's-on 'round here, Mr. Speed. Have you noticed 'em?"

"No. What sort?"

"Well, the other mornin' I discovered some tracks through one of
Miss Jean's flower-beds."


"Sure! Strange tracks. Man's tracks."

"What does that signify?"

"We ain't altogether certain. Carara says he seen a stranger hangin' around night before last, and jest now we found where a hoss had been picketed out in the ravine. Looks like he'd stood there more'n once."

"Why, this is decidedly mysterious."

"We figured we'd ought to tell you."

"It has nothing to do with me."

"I ain't sure. It looks to us like it's somebody from the
Centipede. They're equal to any devilment."

Speed showed an utter lack of comprehension, so Willie explained.

"Understand, we've made this race pay or play. Mebbe they aim to cripple you."

"Me!" Speed started. "Good Heavens!"

"Oh, they'd do it quick enough! I wouldn't put it past 'em to drop a .45 through your winder if it could be done safe."

"Shoot me, you mean?"

"Allah!" said Glass, devoutly from his corner.

Stover and Willie nodded. "If I was you, I'd keep the lamp between me and the winder every night."

"Why, this is abominable!" exclaimed the young college man, stiffly. "I—I can't stand for this, it's getting too serious."

"There ain't nothin' to fear," said Willie, soothingly. "Remember, I told you at the start that we'd see there wasn't no crooked work done. Well, I'm goin' to ride herd on you, constant, Mr. Speed." He smiled in a manner to reassure. "If there's any shootin' comes off, I'll be in on it."

"S—say, what's to prevent us being murdered when we're out for a run?" queried Glass.

"Me!" declared the little man. "I'll saddle my bronc' an' lope along with you. We'll keep to the open country."

Instantly Speed saw the direful consequences of such a procedure, and summoned his courage to say: "No. It's very kind of you, but I shall give up training."


"I mean training on the road. I—I'll run indoors."

"Not a bit like it," declared Stover. "You'll get your daily run if we have to lay off all the punchers on the place and put 'em on as a body-guard."

"But I don't want a body-guard!" cried the athlete desperately.

"We can't let you get hurt. You're worth too much to us."

"Larry and I will take a chance."

"Not for mine!" firmly declared the trainer. "I don't need no mineral in my system. I'm for the house."

"Then I shall run alone."

"You're game," said Willie admiringly, and his auditor breathed easier, "but we can't allow it."

"I—I'd rather risk my life than put you to so much trouble."

"It's only a pleasure."

"Nevertheless, I can't allow it. I'll run alone, if they kill me for it."

"Oh, they won't try to kill you. They'll probably shoot you in the legs. That's just as good, and it's a heap easier to get away with."

Speed felt his knee-caps twitching.

"I've got it!" said he at last. "I'll run at night!"

Stover hesitated thoughtfully. "I don't reckon you could do yourself justice that-away, but you might do your trainin' at daylight. The Centipede goes to work the same time we do, and the chances is your assassin won't miss his breakfast."

"Good! I—I'll do that!"

"I sure admire your courage, but if you see anything suspicious, let us know. We'll git 'em," said Willie.

"Thank you."

The two men went out, whereupon Glass chattered:

"W—what did I tell you? It's worse'n suicide to stick around this farm. I'm going to blow."

"Where are you going?"

"New York. Let's beat it!"

"Never!" exclaimed the college man, stubbornly. We'll hear from Covington before long. Besides, I can't leave until I get some money from home."

"Let's walk."

"Don't be a fool!"

"Then I've got to have a drink." Glass started for the living- quarters, but at the door ducked quickly out of sight.

"She's there!" he whispered tragically. "She seen me, too!"

Mariedetta was squatting in the shade opposite, her eyes fixed stolidly upon the training-quarters.

"Then you've got to lay low till she gives up," declared Wally.
"We're in trouble enough as it is."

For nearly an hour the partners discussed the situation while the Mexican maid retained her position; then, when Glass was on the verge of making a desperate sally, Cloudy entered silently. Although this had been an unhappy morning for the trainer, here at least was one person of whom he had no fear, and his natural optimism being again to the fore, he greeted the Indian lightly.

"Well, how's the weather, Cloudy?"

"Mr. Cloudy to you," said the other. Both Glass and his protege stared. It was the first word the Indian had uttered since their arrival. Lawrence winked at his companion.

"All right, if you like it better. How's the weather, Mister Cloudy?" He snickered at his own joke, whereupon the aborigine turned upon him slowly, and said, in perfect English:

"Your humor is misplaced with me. Don't forget, Mr. Glass, that the one Yale football team you trained, I dropped a goal on from the forty-five-yard line."

Glass allowed his mouth to open in amazement. The day was replete with surprises.

"'96!" he said, while the light of understanding came over him. "You're Cloudy-but-the-Sun-Shines?"

"Yes—Carlisle." Cloudy threw back his head, and pointed with dignity to the flag of his Alma Mater hanging upon the wall.

"By Jove, I remember that!" exclaimed Speed.

"So will Yale so long as she lives," predicted the Indian, grimly. "You crippled me in the second half"—he stirred his withered leg—"but I dropped it on you; and—I have not forgotten." He ground the last sentence between his teeth.

"See here, Bo—Mr. Cloudy. You don't blame us for that?" Cloudy grunted, and threw a yellow envelope on the floor at Speed's feet. "There is something for you," said he, while his lips curled. He turned, and limped silently to the door.

"And I tried to kid him!" breathed Glass with disgust, when the visitor had gone. "I ain't been in right since Garfield was shot."

"It's a telegram from Covington!" cried Speed, tearing open the message. "At last!"

"Thank the Lord!" Glass started forward eagerly. "When'll he be here? Quick!" Then he paused. J. Wallingford Speed had gone deathly pale, and was reeling slightly. "What's wrong?"

The college man made uncertainly for his bed, murmuring incoherently:

"I—I'm sick! I'm sick, Larry!" He fell limply at full length, and groaned, "Call the race off!"

Glass snatched the missive from his employer's nerveless fingers, and read, with bulging eyes, as follows:

"J. WALLINGFORD SPEED, Flying Heart Ranch, Kidder, New

"Don't tip off. Am in jail Omaha. Looks like ten days.


The trainer uttered a cry like that of a wounded animal.

"Call it off, Larry," moaned the Hope of the Flying Heart. "I've been poisoned!"

"Poisoned, eh?" said the fat man, tremulously. "Poisoned! Nix! Not with me!" He walked firmly across the room, flung back the lid of Speed's athletic trunk, and began to paw through it feverishly. One after another he selected three heavy sweaters, then laid strong hands upon his protege and jerked him to his feet. "Sick, eh? Here, get into these!"

"What do you mean, Lawrence?" inquired his victim.

"If you get sick, I die." Glass opened the first sweater, and half-smothered his protege with it. "Hurry up! You're going into training!"


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